City purchases used climbing wall

By Pat Sunderland

Major decisions about parks and recreation facilities are being delayed until the completion of a master plan, but a recent purchase demonstrates that some deals are just too good to pass up.

The city was offered a used climbing wall for $7,000, which includes safety equipment, signage trailer and the climbing wall. The equipment was kept in a building and is in perfect condition, according to Wilma Erven, parks, recreation and golf director.

New mobile climbing walls cost $36,500, she added.

In two surveys over the past year, climbing walls/boulders ranked very high. In a GOCO Inspire survey conducted by the Nature Connection, 4,000 students ranked a climbing wall third, behind archery and water activities. Climbing also came in very high on the survey for the city's master plan (see related story).

Erven said city staff has rented the climbing wall twice previously. At the first event, the climbing wall attracted 214 climbers. No fee was charged. At the second event, a fee was charged. The wall still drew 180 climbers, and about 20 were turned away at the end of the event.

Based on that experience, Erven said she expects the climbing wall to totally pay for itself the first year between programming and rentals. When the climbing wall is rented, it will come with city-trained staff.

Although the $7,000 price tag, and required state fees, were not included in the 2017 budget, Erven said the expense can be covered with cost savings from other projects. The council agreed and the climbing wall will be moved to Delta as soon as a covered storage area is completed near the maintenance facilities in Confluence Park.